Combating child abuses in rural communities
May 2011: In the remote communities in the North West region of Cameroon, an estimated 20% of children are victim of abuse and violence at school, at home or in the community. Suffering from the emotional and physical consequences of violence, many children do not perform well at school or drop out.
“Teachers often beat us at school. We need Plan to come to our schools and talk about child protection,” says Yannick*, a 14 year-old boy from Kikfuini Community.
To combat violence and abuse, Plan and the Ministries of Social Affairs and Basic Education have intensified their conjoint child protection campaigns and public education work making use of school and community meetings.
Over 60 information sessions have been held for children and parents in schools in seventy one communities of the North West region: Bafut, Belo, Mbengwi, Njinikom, Ndop, Fundong, Balikumbat and Babessi council areas. Besides engaging in the information sessions, community members have supported the campaign by putting ‘SAY YES TO KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE’ posters and banners in public places.
“With this sensitization on child abuse, we now know what we can do to protect our children from being abused; and where and how to report cases of mistreatment,” said Gilbert Tondoh, 38-year-old community member.
A stepping stone for changing mentality
The campaign is creating a stepping stone for changing peoples’ attitudes and behaviours towards children – including those of state employees, aiming to reduce the causes and consequences of child abuse.
“Particularly the messages delivered by children themselves have touched me. I have taken a personal commitment to prosecute any perpetrator of child abuse, and to ensure they are thoroughly investigated upon, judged and sent to prison,” said the 1st Deputy State Counsel, Anita Dione, of the Mbengwi high court.
The project is implemented currently in 8 partner councils of Plan in the North West region. Part of our Global Learn Without Fear campaign, the initiative will expand further into 100 more primary and secondary schools with a noticeable prevalence of cases of abuse and violence.
*name changed for child protection reason
Read more about Plan's work in Cameroon.